First Look: Crumble & Flake Patisserie, Seattle

[Photographs: Jay Friedman]

When someone earns accolades as Pastry Chef of the Year for a bakery that's yet to even open, it's no surprise that said bakery would have long lines once it finally did.

Still, Neil Robertson stepped outside his new Crumble & Flake Patisserie on its first Saturday morning of operation and was surprised to see a line snaking half a block long. With weekday Facebook postings announcing sell-outs in mere hours, weekend carbo-warriors have been getting to the bakery well before opening.

Surprise to Robertson, but no surprise to others. After all, he has developed a first-rate reputation after being pastry chef at Canlis, and then at Mistral Kitchen.

But Robertson is humble about the attention on Crumble, and a bit saddened about the quick sell-outs. "I don't want to be the Pastry Nazi, turning people away," he told me, adding, "I just wanted to be a quiet little corner bakery where people can buy good pastries and desserts throughout the day."

For now, the strategy for weekend gluten gluttons seems to be a pre-opening arrival to get top choice of breakfast-like pastries, including an amazing paprika-cheese croissant. Order coffee as well, then leave the store (it's a tiny space, with no counters or tables and room inside for only a few customers at a time). Head back to the end of the line to enjoy your breakfast, because by the time you get back to the front, fast-selling desserts will make cameo appearance in the showcases. These include double brownies, cookies, financiers, and cream puffs. The cream puffs, by the way, are filled to order, with typical flavor choices like chocolate, vanilla, and apricot.

We got on line early enough to taste the new confections, so click through the slideshow to see what's baking at Crumble & Flake.

Crumble & Flake Patisserie

1500 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98122 (map) 206-659-6033;